It’s been about 7 and a half years since Portal 2 came out as of writing this in 2020 yet there hasn’t been much news regarding the coveted next installment. The beloved series has eluded an installment to turn it into a trilogy. So what gives? What are the latest rumors and when may we expect a Portal 3?
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Portal 3 Release Date
Unfortunately, there hasn’t even been a rumor of a Portal 3 release date. The cold reality is that Portal 3 does not seem close to happening. A reddit AMA with Gabe Newell, founder of Valve – the creator of the series – all but confirmed it’s not happening. It perhaps shouldn’t be surprising – Newell and Valve have yet to complete a trilogy with other beloved series Left 4 Dead and Half Life. So what gives? Here are 10 reasons why we think Portal 3 will never happen.
1) Valve is Making Too Much Money with Steam
Steam is a money maker. That’s the simplest way to put it. Currently Steam, which is owned by Valve, controls 70% of the online game download market. There are thousands of games on the platform and year after year Steam sales generate millions of dollars. Ther are 33 million active daily users. Keeping up with such a massive website making that much money cash a lot of resources. There just doesn’t seem there is enough incentive for the company to create the sequel. Portal 2 sold about 4 million units at an average price of $20 per unit. By those calculations we can say Portal 2 earned about $80 million. In comparison, in 2017 Steam generated about $4.3 billion which was an $800 million increase from 2016. Steam isn’t the only thing Valve is worried about either.
2) Valve Isn’t About the Single Player Anymore
Two of the latest releases by Valve have been Dota 2 and Counter Strike GO which have become two of the most popular online multiplayer games. Both games have become preeminent esports games – hosting huge tournaments worth millions of dollars worldwide. Because these games continue to be such a huge part of gaming culture, keeping them updated and fresh requires even more dev time. Time that can’t be spent making Portal 3. To further underscore this point, Valve recently release Artifact – another multiplayer online game. It was their first release in 4 years and it was a multiplayer and a quasi-sequel to Dota 2.
3) Portal 2 Was Made to Scratch an Itch
Portal 2 was made because Valve employees who missed the boat on the first game wanted to get in on the action for the 2nd one. There was internal demand to create the sequel to the hit first game and so it was created. The people who missed the opportunity the first time around got their chance in 2012 and thus that was put to rest. 150 people is about half of Valve’s workforce and we can’t know for sure, but if they all got a little piece of the Portal 2 pie then maybe there isn’t that much desire for Portal 3 internally even from the devs.
4) If There’s Going to be a Valve Sequel, It’s Going to Be Half Life 3
The elephant in the room when it comes to Valve isn’t even so much Portal 3 but rather Half Life 3, the OG game from Valve. Half Life 1 and 2 were and still are hugely popular and the coveted 3rd installment has become one of the longest running jokes in internet and gaming fandom. If Valve were really going to dedicate development resources to creating a single player game, it would have to be Half Life 3. Just the announcement of the game would likely “break the internet” and could become a cash cow in its own right for the company – most likely doing much better than a Portal 3. According to SEMrush, Half Life 3 gets 49,000 searches per month compared to just about 14,000 for Portal 3.
5) There is Already a Quasi-Sequel
In 2016, Valve released The Lab for it’s VR platform Vive – for free. The Lab (trailer below) is set in the Portal universe where users can play a series of mini-games consisting of mostly puzzles and brain teasers. In has the same essence of the true Portal games without actually being Portal. The Lab players will likely feel most at home with the mini-game Slingshot. We can’t say it is true Portal – because it isn’t- it’s actually more like Angry Birds. Nonetheless, you will be using your wits to launch things at objects in VR.
GLaDOS makes an appearance in the mini-game “Aperture Robot Repair” which is a tongue-in-cheek game where players are instructed to repair a robot. Whenever you fail you are ridiculed in GLaDOS fashion.
What Can You Play Instead of Portal 3?
Hopefully those reasons are convincing enough for you to believe Portal 3 is probably not happening. That’s the bad news. Luckily, there are several other games out there now that can perhaps satisfy you in the meantime.
The Turing Test
Watch the trailer of the Turing Test and you will most certainly get very strong Portal vibes. Beside just gameplay, thematically the games are very similar. The player uses a futuristic energy weapon to solve puzzles while fighting off an antagonistic AI – sound familiar? The game came out in 2016 so it’s not necessarily “new” but if you’re still waiting for Portal 3 in 2018-2019 and haven’t come across the Turing Test, we recommend trying it out.
Lego Dimensions: Portal Pack
While the puzzles aren’t as difficult and it comes with the whimsical nature of the Lego games, the Portal pack game from Lego Dimensions is still loads of fun. For any Portal fanatic hoping to get some Portal action, this game should more than suffice. Of course, it is not as extensive as a full Portal game – but as we summarized in 5 reasons above, Portal 3 is not coming any time soon.